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Jill Bennett

Getting into the minds of others

This presentation will discuss a case study: a Wellcome Trust art-science project on memory loss, focused on Claire, a woman with severe amnesia and led by artist Shona Illingworth.

It will describe the extensive collaboration with Claire and a research team including UK neuropsychologists and immersive media designers in Australia.

Building on what was learnt in this project, it will outline a program in development at UNSW, focused on the use of immersive environments to explore the experience of changes in perception and cognitive abilities from a first-person point of view.

Thirdly, it will outline two festivals in development: one on Anxiety, the other on Dementia and the ageing brain. Anchored in experimental arts projects—including immersive environments—these festivals aim to advance research collaborations focused on the experience of mental health through a range of participatory events.

Jill BennettJill Bennett

Jill Bennett is Professor and founding Director of UNSW's National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), and Associate Dean (Research), UNSW Art & Design.

She is a researcher in NIEA's health consortium where she is currently developing two festivals – one on Anxiety, the other on Dementia (in collaboration with the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool). At UNSW she has recently co-developed (with colleagues in both art and medicine) a facility for 3D Immersive Visualisation, dedicated to Medical and Mental Health projects. She leads the Engagement Science program for this facility.

Her current research projects focus on two intersecting areas: art-science collaboration in mental health; and memory loss. In 2014 Jill curated "Amnesia Lab" at UNSW – an exhibition and "live lab" bringing together artists and cognitive neuropsychologists researching memory loss as part of an ongoing collaboration with UK artist Shona Illingworth and psychologists Martin Conway and Catherine Loveday. With Volker Kuchelmeister she led the development of the 3D immersive "Amnesia Atlas", a media installation designed to investigate processes of memory retrieval (exhibited Sydney and Hong Kong 2014; FACT Liverpool, 2015). She is working on further development of this project as both an immersive media installation and an experimental facility investigating memory processes.

Jill's books include Empathic Vision (Stanford University Press, 2005), Practical Aesthetics: Events, Affects and Art After 9/11(IB Tauris,2012) and Curating Sydney (UNSW Press, 2014; with Saskia Beudel), With Dr Mary Zournazi, Prof Bennett is series editor of Thinking in the World (Bloomsbury, UK).

Jill has been a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts (2010-2012), and a member of the government’s Excellence in Research Australia Evaluation Committee (2009). She is a recipient of the UNSW Vice Chancellor's award for Excellence in Postgraduate Supervision (2007) and the Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools Distinguished Researcher Award.